30 June 2011

Trends-picking & choosing

In choosing things to fill my own house, I often consider trendy items.
Slipcovers were on my radar for a comfortable family room. I do own the Ikea slipped loveseat and find it terribly uncomfortable but more importantly it got marked too easily. My family isn't that filthy but a small child holding a crayon can make you wish you did not have anything white.

I need to replace a viciously ugly light fixture in the kitchen eating area. I considered an oversized lantern but I don't like them enough.
Which leads me to my method for shuffling through trends...

I ask "Would I buy this if it were not a trend?" and the answer dictates the purchase.

If it is ultimately not pleasing to me (like that kitchen and its delicious floor) the result is something that does not say anything about me.
An authentic interior is what we are all after, right?

29 June 2011

A grand birthday and decorating progress!

My less than stellar attempt at Sachertorte
Yesterday was my 43rd birthday and it was great, the cake notwithstanding.

I slept in and woke up to these lovely roses and other yummy breakfast treats.

In the afternoon, I made a Viennese Sachertorte that was not so great. I am usually good at patisserie but this was a bit of a flop so I went antique shopping.
I had been thinking about a blanc de Chine piece I saw and wanted to see if it was still there.
It was but did not live up to my memory of it, besides, it was next to this fabulous (but not antique) pagoda jar.
 I scooped it up and found a wedding present for my Uncle too.
At home there was...

Moet et Chandon in Baccarat with Suisse fondue for dinner.
During all that birthday fun the FedEx man rang with my drapes for the family room.

They'll be hung behind this newly reupholstered sofa when the rods arrive. 
I have not yet hung the bamboo shades that will go on the windows under the drapes.

I have managed the addition of a vintage, kid-proof club chair and two end tables. The marble top Saarinen style is my favorite.

I left the bee, the fingerprints, and the very wrinkled coasters in this shot of the vintage side table because this is a casual room that I must share with my little one. I have other rooms that are for grown -ups.

23 June 2011

Chinoiserie score!

I came across this Brunschwig and Fils fabric on eBay a few weeks ago while searching for "Le Lac"  to make a few throw pillows. There were basically scraps totaling a bit over two yards and for $20 I got high end fabric. I was planning to use it for a valance in my kitchen.
When it arrived my heart sunk as it really fought with the nearby curtain..

I looked at the fabric again and realized that the ivory silk stripe that I was planning on buying to recover these dining chairs would no longer be needed.

 I also scored these six pristine, vintage Henckel-Harris dining chairs for $700.
There are two smallish vignettes on the fabric and I have enough for three of each on chairs and will get a few pillows made for the living room from the remainder.

I even managed to knock out a few 4" x 4" coasters out of this too. If that's not a $20 deal I don't know what is!

20 June 2011

In plain view

I realize that my lifestyle is not for everyone, but if you really want to avoid kid clutter this is a great option.
I have lived through a sea of toys with broken and misplaced parts. I have found puzzle pieces in my kitchen and doll heads in my bathroom along with a multitude of messes that I hated. This was how my over indulged, first two children experienced toys.
Fast forward 15 years...

My two year-old daughter has a more Spartan collection of toys contained almost entirely in these bins.
Two contain books, one blocks, one Playmobil sets, and the others are a jumble. She is very content with the number of toys and I don't think I would be doing her a service by having too many.
I love these bins. They are about $5 at Target and other stores and sturdy as far as I can tell. While I am not thrilled with the color combination of the bins in this new house, they keep things tidy with only the tiniest effort and keep toys from becoming a numbing pile of stuff. The kind of "can't see the trees for the forest" sort of mess.
Only the "beehicle" and tiny chair remain in view when everything is put away but can be stashed elsewhere quickly if I wish.
I hope this method works in the long term because we have kept her bedroom mostly toy free. With two twin beds there is precious little floor space and a few things are stashed in her closet but it one less mess to pickup.

17 June 2011

art obsession-help me choose

Celebration by Linda Monfort
I have become slightly obsessed with buying original art. I confess. It is like my dirty, little secret in this house. I steal moment to check eBay auctions and browse Etsy, never daring to let my family know how much I desire this art.
The painting above is by Linda Monfort. I bought it about a month ago and I adore it. It is even more captivating in person. It was originally intended to be in my 2 year-old's room which will be chic enough without it because I want to look at this painting all the time.

Next, I purchased this antique French impressionist painting on eBay. It is petite and darling but in need of a frame.
I have a few others that I am watching on eBay on pins and needles
Here are a few that I covet on Etsy.

This may look like a glorified smear to some but it truly moves me ( it makes me want to scream ! I'd cheat on my husband with that man's palette knife! Maybe not literally.) as does other work by Greg Hargreaves  but it is out of budget for the moment.

Art is as difficult to explain the reasons for loving, as it is to explain  why we love particular people.

by Linda Donohue
This ocean abstract by Linda Donohue gives me a warm, fuzzy kind of memory of my childhood. Its part of the reason art is so personal.
So here is my choice...

this John Michael painting...

it a good stab in the heart.

or this, groovy on all the right ways painting.

All of this for the stupid builder hole over the fireplace...

 I am adding a picture of the room empty because I firmly believe that exceptional art stands alone and never needs to "fit into the color scheme" of the overall decor. Art trumps decor on some occasions. If it is big, bold and good enough it can be hung anywhere.

Which is your favorite? One shown here? Tell me about your favorite work of art.

13 June 2011

finding inspiration anywhere

I am often driven to a new idea or inspired by an image or things I see out and about. By that I mean, that the visual bookmark in my mind is jogged when I see things I like and I am reminded that I wanted to find the perfect fabric for my dining room chairs, for instance.
I often find inspiration in colors of fabrics...

and design motifs.

  and their shapes in general.

Patterns in nature inspire my love of symmetry.

Texture is one thing that I don't always use as a jumping off point in an over all design although,
I can't help but notice it.

 Art is a huge source of inspiration for me.

The color, texture and shapes all get my creative mind going.

Where do you find inspiration?

10 June 2011

Aaaah Summer!

Today is my official start of Summer. Its the last day of school so...

I am looking forward to sleeping a little later and

getting a few things done around here.

I'm off to Culpeper to shop for antiques today. I'll be back with my loot and an art post soon.

07 June 2011

Don't know whether to cry or make martinis

Finally, my newly reupholstered chair arrived, clad in black velvet with new nail head trim. I was over the moon until my little girl got in it. The petite scale made it perfect for me and luckily there are lots of options for its placement.

I have no idea why, but the chair wants to flip onto its back with little provocation. Making in unsafe around my two year-old. It was originally intended to be in my family room with the newly reupholstered sofa...

but it is now banished to the formal living room unless I can fix it.
This means I need to rethink everything and that happens from time to time in design but it stinks.

Oh yeah, this table that I ordered was lop-side.

04 June 2011

Traversing hell

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Pennsylvania unexpectedly and arranged a visit to the drapery workroom I have always used. It was so nice to visit with Patty, the owner and friend of mine. She does great work and her prices are good too. I was also dying to have the drape for the poorly dressed sliding glass door in the dining area of my kitchen. It had vertical blinds, which I despise over all other window treatments and they were missing about half of the panels and did not open and close.

I am thrilled with the chinoiserie print on a bark colored cotton/linen blend. I chose a decorative traverse rod from Kirsch and it took a few extra weeks to arrive. We all have been enduring blinding sun through dinner and a few extra degrees in the afternoons so it was great to finally have all of the parts and my husband was unusually willing to put the hardware up.
Ack! I always had installers do this and I've never used a decorative traverse rod. The cryptic directions were little help. It took five, yes five hours to hang. At about four and a half hours in, I consulted the Kirsch website to find completely different and logical instructions.
I am so glad the next round of drapes from PA will stationary panels with a rod pocket, especially since there are four and will be 9 feet up.